The single best scene in “Adventure Comics” #8 is the same one that was shown in the most recent issue of “Superman,” with the Legion Espionage Squad hanging out in the Kent family barn. But it is a pretty great scene, and it’s worth repeating.
If you haven’t been following James Robinson’s Mon-El adventures in “Superman,” and I’ve only recently caught up with the story myself, then let me give you the short version: almost everyone in Mon-El’s life was actually a Legionnaire in disguise. Chameleon Boy, Sensor Girl, Matter-Eater Lad, and even Quislet were part of Mon-El’s Metropolis circle of allies and acquaintances, and they’d been sent back to help young Mon become the hero he was already meant to be.
But we also find out that Mon-El wasn’t the only one the heroes from the future were hanging around in the 21st century. Turns out, Superboy’s chemistry teacher was none other than Element Lad, master of transmutation.
It’s the kind of plot reveal that recalls the goofy delights of the Silver Age from which the Legion of Super-Heroes were born — Gasp! My Chemistry Teacher is Really…Double Gasp!…a Superhero from the Future?!?! — but that’s the kind of stuff the Legion does best. And even though Conner Kent was once a part of the reboot Legion of the 1990s, and the Element Lad in that incarnation was an off-his-rocker Colonel Kurtz from “Apocalypse Now” type of character, this issue of “Adventure Comics” isn’t about conflicting continuity problems. It’s just a pleasant little intro to some of the cooler members of the Legion, ones largely missing from Geoff Johns’ “Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds,” because they’ve been back here all this time. Planning.
The James Robinson-written Legion-at-the-Kent-Farm sequence is only one part of this three-part issue. We also get Sterling Gates showing us a bit of the time turmoil in the future, and a bit of background on Brainiac 5. And we get Eric Trautmann giving us an inside look at Squad K, the anti-Kryptonian strike team, which “stands ready to kill alien invaders.”
All three stories in this issue are basically just preludes to the upcoming “Last Stand of New Krypton,” but they do their job well, providing context, and a reason to care about what might happen next. And with Tellus and Quislet and the whole Legion gang back in action, the events on New Krypton should be a heck of a lot more interesting than they have in recent months. If this prologue is any indication, we won’t have to suffer through the likes of “World of New Krypton” this time around.